Sunday, 12 October 2014

Stepping into the spotlight

In decades to come, it will be her responsibility to take the lead on Spain's National Day and in 2014 Princess Leonor took her first steps towards that role.  For the first time, and with her sister Sofia at her side, she stood on the dais to watch the military parade as October 12th unfolded in Madrid.  A future queen, a new king and all change at one of the country's biggest events.

King Felipe VI takes the salute at the National Day Parade in Madrid on October 12th 2014 accompanied by his heiress, Princess Leonor, for the first time

The first sight of the eight year old future queen at this major milestone in her royal career came as the new king, his consort and their children arrived and took their places for Spain's national anthem. And along with seven year old sister, Sofia, the Princess of Asturias looked calm and ready for this big moment.

 A future queen at the side of a king - Felipe VI and Leonor on October 12th 2014

The girls then accompanied their parents to the military parade in the centre of Madrid and seemed to take a deep interest in all that was going on.  And they were there to look on proudly as their father took the salute at the parade for the first time as king.  

Although he took the salute last year when his father missed the parade as he recovered from an operation, this was a big moment for Felipe as he took centre stage for the first time as king

The girls stepped back as their parents greeted hundreds of people at the reception at the Royal Palace afterwards. And for the first time, it was as king and queen that Felipe and Letizia shook hands and swapped words with those at the event. Last year, when they took the lead at the parade and reception, it was as Prince and Princess of Asturias.  Queen Sofia joined them for the meet and greet and a toast to King Juan Carlos but today they stood by themselves in front of the thrones in one of the grandest chambers in the Royal Palace.

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia on October 12th 2014

Felipe had been seen with his father the day before when the two kings attended a special festival marking the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Air Force.  The surprise appearance by father and son at the event at the Air Base at Torrejon de Ardoz marked the second public event in less than a week for Juan Carlos who has kept a low profile since his abdication in June this year.

The two kings - Felipe VI and Juan Carlos I at an event marking the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Air Force

Juan Carlos presided over the events of October 12th for almost four decades so was noticeable by his absence this year.  He has retired into the background and his granddaughter, Princess Leonor, is stepping into the spotlight in the process that will one day see her inherit his crown.

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